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Help With ADHD

Curated and updated for the community by APA

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common mental disorders affecting children. ADHD also affects many adults. Symptoms of ADHD include inattention (not being able to keep focus), hyperactivity (excess movement that is not fitting to the setting) and impulsivity (hasty acts that occur in the moment without thought).

See definition, symptoms, & treatment

  • May 17, 2018
Teens and Parents Often Differ in Reporting on Mental Health Symptoms

A new study presented at the APA Annual Meeting in New York City found frequent disagreement between parent and child in reporting on mental health symptoms. The study was conducted to assess agreement between parent and child using special surveys that were designed to assess symptoms based on the parents’ and teens’ perceptions. The study involved youth age 11 to 17 in treatment for mental health conditions, primarily for diagnoses of ADHD, major depression or generalized anxiety.

  • Dec 12, 2017
Online Mental Health Screenings: A Potential First Step

Several organizations provide brief online screenings for depression, anxiety, PTSD and other mental health conditions. More than one million people took screenings through the Mental Health America site alone in 2016.

  • Nov 30, 2017
Direct-to-Consumer Advertising Linked to Changes in Medication Use Among People with Serious Mental Illness

People with serious mental illness exposed to direct-to-consumer advertising (DTCA) of medications are more likely to stop taking their medications than those not exposed to the advertising, according to new research published in Psychiatric Services in Advance.

Upcoming Events
May
2018
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Webinars and Workshops Series - Free Online Training
  • Tue,  May  01 - Thur,  May  31
  • 10:15 AM - 10:15 AM

Attention Deficit Disorder Association

May
2018
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Directory of Local Support Meetings
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ADDitude Magazine

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2018
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Parent to Parent Program
  • CHADD, the National Resource Center on ADHD
  • Tue,  May  01 - Thur,  May  31
  • 10:15 AM - 10:15 AM

Online and In-person Training for Parents

May
2018
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Find campus based events and support
  • Tue,  May  01 - Thur,  May  31
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Active Minds

My son's teacher keeps sending notes home about his behavior at school and I don't understand the problem. He is fine with me, maybe a handful for his mother and his grandparents. Should I ask for them to change his teacher, or is there a problem?

You are fortunate to have good management skills that help you with your child's behavior. Parents often get confusing reports about their children, and there are many factors that need to be considered. A good starting point is a meeting with your child's teacher and school guidance counselor. Ask for another observation of your child in the classroom. If the problems continue, there are behavior rating scales that help to clarify the problem behaviors. The Vanderbilt Assessment Scales used for diagnosing ADHD are readily available and the standard in many communities. Your child’s doctor may be comfortable with the next steps in the evaluation or you might look for a mental health professional, such as a child and adolescent psychiatrist, to continue the evaluation process. More

Are there side effects with ADHD medications that we should be worried about with children? What about adults taking ADHD medications long-term?

Like all medications there are important side effects that should be considered if a decision is made to try medications for treatment of ADHD. The most serious side effects involve the heart, primarily in children who have known heart problems. More common side effects are lack of appetite, sleep problems and moodiness. Usually these side effects can be managed with adjustments in the dosage, timing of dose or changing to another medication. Your child’s treatment will involve regular follow-up visits to monitor for any of these problems.

Most children with ADHD will continue having problems with concentration and focus during adolescence and adulthood. Research has confirmed that medications continue to be effective into adulthood. While there are few studies looking at very long-term effects it appears that the long- term benefit outweighs the risks. More

My 17-year-old son with ADHD does not want to take his medication anymore. Should I continue to try to get him to take the medication?

Adolescents with almost any medical condition will insist that they can manage their treatment. “I would rather do it myself.” Fortunately, in most cases the physician has anticipated this and steps have been taken early to help your child learn about his condition, identify target symptoms that improve with treatment and encourage open discussion about side effects. Trials off medication are welcomed. Explore your son’s reasons for wanting to be off medication. It may be a side effect that he has not discussed with his doctor. Identify the likely changes that are expected during a trial off medication. Your son might be willing to identify a neutral observer (a favorite teacher, a coach) who can help monitor for problem issues. Their observations may feel less “parental.” More

Are there non-medication ADHD treatments that are effective?

There are many steps that a family can take short of medication. Usually these involve close attention to a problem behavior and developing a strategy (not punishment) that might change the behavior. Some are straight forward – tighter routines in the morning while getting ready for school, close monitoring of homework assignments and school projects that require planning, or accommodations at school for tests. Some families benefit from counseling to examine conflicts at home.

There are many other “treatments” on the market that promise to be the answer for your child. Most of their claims have not been adequately tested for safety or long-term benefit. In this area parents have to be very informed consumers. A conversation with your child’s pediatrician is a good place to start. More

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About the Expert:

Scott Benson, M.D.
Pediatric Psychiatrist
Pensacola, Fla.

Tammy’s Story

Tammy, an 8-year-old third grader, was halfway through the second grading period when her parents asked for another conference with her teacher. Her grades were very low with failure to complete class assignments and inconsistent performance on homework.

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Editor's Choice

MAY 10 2018

After-School Programs an Asset for Kids With ADHD

HealthDay News

After-school activities might be just what the doctor ordered for kids with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), researchers suggest. After analyzing records on more than 4,000 children with ADHD, the investigators found that nearly 72 percent of them took part in one or more after-school activities. And if they did, they missed fewer days of school and had less severe symptoms of the disorder.

APR 23 2018

Helping Kids With ADHD, and Their Families, Thrive

New York Times

When a child has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, it affects everybody in the family, said Dr. Mark Bertin, a developmental pediatrician in Pleasantville, N.Y. Parents need to understand the nature of A.D.H.D., he said, and appreciate that it affects “a host of self-management skills,” which play out in school but also in daily home routines. 

APR 19, 2018

ADHD How To Use ADHD To Your Advantage, According To A PsychologistFood Allergies

Forbes

We often think of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) as a condition that prevents people from performing at their best. But what if ADHD – when managed properly – could actually give you a competitive advantage?
Increasingly, studies show that symptoms of ADHD are valuable in entrepreneurship. Want proof? Take a look at billionaire Sir Richard Branson who speaks openly about how ADHD positively benefitted his success. In fact, researchers say entrepreneurs with ADHD show strengths in creativity, grit and perseverance to name a few. .